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Christmas can be a real headache when you’re trying to figure out what’s acceptable to give to someone and what’s not. Let’s face it – your kid’s teacher is going to get enough ornaments to make the tree bend, or coffee cups, or pencils… etc. So how do you go about finding unique gifts that still say “thank you” without breaking the bank or making someone uncomfortable?

First, for service people – your hair dresser, that great pizza delivery guy whose always on time, etc. a card with money or a gift card is always appreciated. Folks in these lines of work don’t make big bucks, and that money/card could go a long way to making holidays easier for them. It’s perfectly within good taste and manners.

Returning to our teachers – what about sending a gift box that can go in the teacher’s lounge. This way everyone from the guidance counselor to the teachers and principal can get a little treat. Trust me, the goodies WILL disappear.

How about co-workers? This is where things get touchy. Some bosses (and indeed, some companies) monitor gift giving for propriety (to make sure no one is using it as a “bribe”). Obviously honor those guidelines diligently. Kindness and thoughtfulness are wonderful, but they’re not worth getting fired!

Every company has an internal “culture” of sorts – and you have to tap into that feel in gift buying.

One option is returning to the teacher idea – a gift basket that just celebrates the season without giving to anyone in particular. Or, you can find useful small items for coworkers that acknowledge their efforts without being flashy (like a combination highlighter/pen with post it notes). One big item to avoid in this setting is any joke gifts. And if you’re presenting food items make sure to provide ingredient lists so no one gets sick due to allergies.
Last but not least, don’t forget to acknowledge the gifts you receive no matter the setting. Be it a telephone call, an in person thank you or a written note, the attitude of gratitude is completely in keeping with this season!


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